Essential Oils for Pregnancy
One of my favorite things about being a doula and childbirth educator is helping educate people on pregnancy, birth, and parenting. This takes many forms and is always unique to each family I work with. Recently I’ve had a lot of people ask me about essential oils. I use them in my everyday life and love them, but I am not an aromatherapist so there’s a fine line when educating on this topic, especially if people are looking for treatment from a particular ailment. I’ll share some of my favorite everyday uses for essential oils in pregnancy and want to encourage you to do your own research as well. Safe use of essential oils is incredibly important and I’ll list a few resources at the end of this post to help you navigate your way through adding essential oils to your life. Essential oils are very powerful, so please do your research and consult a medical professional if you have any questions.
I always use 100% pure, therapeutic grade Young Living oils so that’s what I’m referring to in this post. If you’re interested in getting started with oils please read THIS!
How to Use Essential Oils
There are 3 ways to use essential oils: topically, aromatically, and internally. I don’t recommend ingesting essential oils in pregnancy unless you’re working with a certified clinical aromatherapist or doctor that specializes in essential oil use. Topical use includes placing essential oils on the skin. Always use a carrier oil to dilute (coconut oil is one of my favorites!) especially when first introducing essential oils to your skin. Aromatic use is the most common. This includes inhaling the scents of essential oils, often with the help of a diffuser. When first introducing oils, I recommend “going low and slow” meaning start with a drop or two of one essential oil and observe how you feel, if you have any positive or negative reactions, etc. and then increasing usage from there. This is particularly important in pregnancy.
Why Essential Oils
Regular use of essential oils has been known to balance moods, encourage mental focus throughout the day, support healthy sleep, and boost immune function. Each oil has it’s own unique properties that can meet various physical, emotional, or mental needs. Exploring each oil and how it can be used to improve your life is half the fun, so I really encourage you to enjoy the journey, as it’s unique to each person.
Whether you struggle with morning sickness or all-damn-day sickness, you’ll probably try anything to curb your nausea. If the typical fizzy drinks, crackers, and ginger aren’t doing the trick, essential oils might do the trip. For nausea support try diffusing 2-3 drops of Spearmint, Ginger, Lemon, or Peppermint. Or you can try rubbing 1 or 2 drops of diluted Cardamom essential oil to the base of your throat.
The roller coaster of emotions in pregnancy is no joke! Growing a human is hard work and it can be very overwhelming. To help balance your mood try 2 drops of diluted Stress Away, Peace & Calming or Valor on your wrists or over your heart. Diffuse 2 drops each of Fennel & Patchouli. Add 5 drops Joy to a 10ml roller bottle, then top with your carrier oil of choice and roll over your heart. Put one drop of Gentle Baby in your palms and rub together, then hold over your nose and take several deep breaths.
Whether you’re tired because you aren’t sleeping or because building a baby from scratch is freaking hard work, essential oils can provide the boost needed to get you through the post-lunch slump. Diffuse 1-2 drops of Lemon, Peppermint and Rosemary. Or put a drop of Lemon and Lavender on a cotton ball and hold in front of your nose.
Thieves is the all-time best blend to give your immune system the support it needs through pregnancy. It is one of my most-used (and most-loved) oils. For daily immune support add 10 drops of Thieves to a 10ml roller bottle, then top with your favorite carrier oil. Roll the Thieves on the soles of your feet each night before bed, and on the back of your neck each morning and night. You can also diffuse 3-4 drops of Thieves throughout your home daily.
Leg & Ankle Support
For most, ankle and leg swelling occurs in the 3rd trimester, but it can happen sooner. Restless leg syndrome and leg cramps are also quite common in pregnancy. Propping your feet up at the end of the day, epsom salt foot soaks, and essential oils can all help calm your legs and increase your comfort. Cypress, Lemongrass, and Grapefruit can be used in a carrier oil and massaged into your feet or legs. Get your partner to help and make it a regular part of your routine to help keep your blood flowing. These same oils can be used post-birth to help increase circulation and reduce water retention.
If you’re struggling to get some good quality sleep during pregnancy, we have some great tips for you over here, but adding essential oils to your routine can also help! It’s best to have a diffuser near your bed that you can run for a few hours or even all night long. Lavender, Tranquil, Stress Away, Valor, Cedarwood, and Peace & Calming are all great to support healthy sleep. You can add them to your diffuser or dilute with a carrier oil and massage into your chest before bed.
Stay tuned for additional posts on Essential Oils for Labor and Essential Oils for Baby!